Pat Jameson, Staff Writer
Nov. 8, 2013
Bobby Over won his second consecutive NCAC championship, while leading the Allegheny cross country team to a second place finish overall last Saturday.
Despite a rainy morning that left the Gator’s home course in poor condition, Over ran a time of 26:35 to finish 19 seconds ahead of the next racer. However, the Gator’s success was not just limited to Over, as Logan Steiner, ’16, and James Rynes, ’15, finished in third and fifth place respectively. Alex Simon, ’15, came in twelfth to round out the list of Allegheny runners placing in the top 20.
Despite placing four runners in the top 20, the team, including Over, was still disappointed about the loss.
“Bobby is an extremely humble athlete,” said Head Coach Brent Wilkerson. “Even though he won the meet for the second consecutive year, he was upset about the team loss. He cares more about our team results than his own individual accomplishments and that is one of the many reasons he makes such a great captain.”
While the conditions were far from ideal, Over said that the Gators were not greatly affected by the weather.
“I don’t think the conditions affected the team performance too much,” Over said. “We knew that the course would be a mess because Meadville this time of year is always cold and rainy, so we were prepared for some pretty terrible conditions.”
Despite Allegheny’s success, Wabash College placed five runners in the top ten to bring home the NCAC crown. The Little Giants were led by Dalton Boyer, ’15, whose time of 25:54 just barely edged out Steiner for second place. The two runners were evenly matched until the final stretch of the race, when Boyer was able to find one last burst of speed to cement his second place finish. In a race of 113 contestants and 10 separate schools, all of Allegheny’s runners finished in the top 70.
According to Over, his second championship was made even more memorable with the race being hosted at home.
“Winning the NCAC meet two years in a row meant a lot to me,” Over said. “It was even more important to me that it came with us hosting the conference meet. We don’t get too many opportunities to run at home so it was great to be able to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Despite Over’s success, the Gators feel like there is room for improvement in their performance.
“After finishing the race and going back up to the locker room covered in mud and completely soaked, it was obvious we were all extremely frustrated with ourselves,” Steiner said. “Every single one of us, besides Bobby, could have done better and should have done better being that we had the home course advantage.”
Fortunately for the Gators, their season is far from over as they have qualified for the NCAC Mideast Regional Championships in two weeks, hosted in Gettysburg, PA.
“We have one more chance at making it to nationals as a team,” Steiner said. “I believe that our frustration with ourselves will turn into a terrifying form of motivation with these last few races. At the end of the race, nothing is worse than knowing that you could have done better.”
If the Mideast Regionals prove successful, Allegheny could advance to the NCAC finals, where the Gators made school history last year. The team finished 15th overall, while Over finished second in the nation and Steiner finished first among competing freshman.
When asked about his mindset going forward, Over emphasized that he is focusing on the upcoming meet, even though the runner who beat him at Nationals has since graduated.
“The team was pretty disappointed about losing to Wabash at NCACs so we are looking to redeem ourselves a bit at the regional meet,” Over said. “It’s still a little early to be thinking about winning a national championship because Regionals is my first priority. The post season is just about taking it one week at a time, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been on my mind pretty much every day since coming in second last year.”
Allegheny women’s cross country also had a strong weekend, finishing fifth overall with four runners finishing in the top 25. Kristina Martin, ’14, placed ninth while running a 23:28 and Alyssa Brindle, ’16, finished twelfth with a time of 23:53. Andy Sharfman, ’15, and Sarah Jane Guillaume, 16’, were the other two Gators in the top 25, finishing 21st and 24th respectively. Oberlin College took home the title while Ohio Wesleyan placed second. The women’s team will also participate in the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships in two weeks.
Looking ahead to Regionals, the team looks to rest up and prepare.
“We are right now focusing on recovering from a tough conference meet,” said Wilkerson. “Our region is one of the toughest in the country and we want to make sure we are running on fresh legs!”